The entire Wurster Construction family would like to express our most sincere gratitude to all of the essential workers staffing the many healthcare facilities throughout our community, state and country. It is the compassion, bravery and sacrifice of these individuals that will see us through these very trying times.
At Wurster Construction, we are committed to serving our clients and partners in the healthcare community. During these difficult times many of our employees have been working side by side with healthcare providers to adapt their facilities for the care of COVID-19 patients and for the safety of other patients and hospital staff. Read on to learn more about ways we are working together with healthcare providers to provide safe clinical environments.
Like many other businesses, our team has encountered significant changes in our daily activities. At Wurster construction we value our clients that have entrusted us to deliver each one of their projects. We will continue to provide the best possible service even as we too practice social distancing for the safety of our neighbors, friends and families.
As the term “Coronavirus” started to become commonplace in our vocabulary the question of when we would see the first case in our own back yard loomed. On March 6th of this year that question was answered with the announcement of the first positive case of Covid-19 in Marion County. Only a couple of days later, late Sunday evening, residents living in the Avon School Corporation of Hendricks county would be awakened by a phone call informing them that a potential case affecting a student had been reported. School was canceled the following day, with more information to come. After these first cases were identified the number steadily began to increase. From that point schools, businesses, government agencies and many community organizations began the process converting their operations and activities to allow for “social distancing”.
Behind the scenes local hospitals had already begun the process of constructing, renovating and preparing temporary provisions to address the eminent needs of the healthcare providers. Wurster Construction was busy working with our healthcare clients to assist in these efforts. Our healthcare team was in the process of converting spaces within one local hospital to accommodate the growing need for additional isolation rooms. Our team was involved from the beginning, assisting in the formulation of a plan to organize available resources and procure the additional materials, equipment and manpower necessary to begin a very aggressive effort. This process would require the hospital to make spaces available in already functioning clinical areas and nursing units so all trades could work together and convert rooms without affecting the availability of beds and patient throughput. The initial effort began in this hospital’s emergency department with the conversion of 8 fast track rooms to negative air isolation holding rooms. In just days these rooms would be assessed and prepped to accommodate the new function, including the installation of exhaust fans with filtration, placed on a nearby rooftop.
Over a period of 3-4 weeks approximately 20 patient rooms were converted from their standard care function to negative pressure isolation rooms. First, each room had to be evaluated for areas of potential infiltration. Walls and ceilings including all MEP fixtures were sealed to mitigate potential transmission of air and to decrease infiltration so negative pressurization could be properly maintained. Negative air machines with HEPA filtration were installed in each room discharging directly to the exterior of the facility through existing windows. Digital air monitors with visual display for the care teams and other hospital staff, as well as cellular communication for alerts to the facilities team were placed at each room. Each room conversion was executed, and the rooms were returned to the Owner for patient care in a matter of hours.
As the clinical needs were addressed, the need to address patient and visitor contact in other areas of the hospital became an added focus. The concern with waiting rooms becoming potential points of transmission had to be addressed. Recommendations were made to partition off smaller waiting areas in an effort to limit the size and spacing, as well as to comply with social distancing guidelines. Wurster Construction was able to assist in quickly obtaining and installing furnishing partitions within just a few days, when typical lead times for similar furnishings had proven to be several weeks.
With the rapidly changing conditions relative to the community spread of the virus, additional needs were being identified. Wurster Construction’s team was asked to take on the conversion of 6 triage bays in the emergency department, transforming them into short stay isolation rooms. Working within the existing layout and utilizing existing headwalls, the construction team was able to provide valuable resources to quickly layout the design, obtain the necessary materials and mobilize an extraordinary construction effort that was completed in less than 20 days.
Wurster Construction continues to assist in all areas of the hospital by constructing and placing protective transaction partitions for the safety of hospital staff and patients where contact and interaction is required, such as registration bays and cashiers’ stations.
The Wurster healthcare team stands on the ready to assist our clients as additional needs may continue present themselves.